Bernie Ecclestone explains why public want Max Verstappen to beat Lewis Hamilton

Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes the public want Max Verstappen to beat Lewis Hamilton to the title because they simply want to see a new world champion.

The 2021 F1 season has thrilled from the off thanks to the titanic world championship battle between Mercedes' Hamilton and Red Bull's Verstappen.

The two men have won 16 races between them this season, with the Dutchman claiming nine victories to Hamilton's seven. However, the Brit has experience on his side as a seven-time world champion – and 15-year veteran of the sport – while this is Verstappen's first real title tilt.

Hamilton took successive wins in Brazil and Qatar to narrow Verstappen’s lead from 19 points to just eight with 52 still up for grabs at the remaining two rounds of the season in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

And ahead of the inaugural Saudi Arabia GP, Ecclestone – often described as the 'F1 Supremo' – is happy for either of them to win – as, like so many others, he cannot decide between the two.

"It is difficult to say which one will prevail," Ecclestone told The Daily Mail. "I think it now depends on a little bit of good or bad luck that either of them bumps into.

"Generally, the public — and this is nothing against Lewis, he has done a first-class job — probably wants to see somebody else be world champion. That is the feeling I get from people. Lewis has been a bit luckier until now. Whether that luck will remain or run out we'll have to see.

"Max as champion would be good for Formula One. Mercedes have been great, but it would be good if someone else came to the fore. Max presents himself very, very well to the public. New kid on the block sort of thing, though he has been performing well for a few years but was largely unknown.

"People wonder if they will crash but if they do it won't be intentional. It could happen but I don't think either of them will do anything silly or drive in a way that could cause an accident. If it does happen it probably won’t be anything to do with them. That is what I am saying about luck and it could be the difference between being champion or not.

"It’s been a good championship, what we have been waiting seven years for. That’s why I hope it goes to the wire and whoever is luckier is world champion in 2021.”

Do you think Lewis Hamilton will beat Max Verstappen to the world championship? Let us know in the comments section.

Ecclestone has not been to a race since attending the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the last event before the pandemic took hold of the world.

The 91-year-old's time as chief executive of the sport came to an end on January 23, 2017 – after he was replaced by Chase Carey after Liberty Media completed their takeover.

Regardless, the multi-millionaire admits his enthusiasm for the sport still burns bright, revealing that he watches "every practice and whatever is going on."

F1 travels to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 5, with Red Bull star Verstappen desperately hoping to hold onto his eight-point lead to win his first crown.

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